Chiapas Forum: “Women’s Perspectives on Militarization”

October 20, 2009

foro mujeres y militarizacion

On October 2nd and 3rd, various organizations, among them SIPAZ, convened a forum on Women’s Perspectives on Militarization, which was held at CIDECI-Unitierra, in the city of San Cristóbal de las Casas. About 160 women from Guatemala, Honduras, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Guerrero, and elsewhere participated along with those from the communities of Chiapas. Between lectures and table discussions, the women shared their ideas, sorrow, bravery, resistance, struggles, complaints, and injustices that their organizations and communities are enduring.

In the final declaration of the event, they stated:

“The increase, in the last decade, of militarization, para-militarization, and drug-militarization in Latin America has worsened violations of human rights, the most recent examples of which being the coup in Honduras and the installation of seven United States military bases in Colombia which signify, on the one hand, the weakening development of the fledgling democracies in Latin America, and, on the other, the strengthening of militarization as a means of control through the use of weapons, protests and proposals of social improvement through the neoliberal capitalist system in which poverty, corruption and violence are its principal expressions.

In this context, women will continue being used as the plunders of war, hostages, shields, forced to take place in activities that violate our dignity. The militarization seeks to appropriate our thoughts, spirits, families and territories. Today, we live in a militarized society in which power, coercion and violence are reproduced as a way of life.”

For more information (in Spanish):

Boletín de prensa del 2 de octubre

Pronunciamiento del Foro Perspectivas de las Mujeres ante la Militarización

Audios (in Spanish):

ponencias 2 de octubre

ponencias 3 de octubre


capsúla radiofónica

Chiapas: Declaration of the 5 liberated indigenous tseltales of ‘La Otra Campaña’ from San Sebastián Bachajón

July 21, 2009
Press conference of the liberated indigenous tseltales

Press conference of the liberated indigenous tseltales

On the 9th of July 2009, representatives of the indigenous tseltales, who are members of the village of San Sebastián Bachajón and part of ‘La Otra Campaña’, took part in a press conference, together with the Centro de Derechos Humanos “Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas” (Human Rights Center “Fray Bartolome de las Casas” or CDHFB). The press conference took place in the offices of CDHFB, with the aim of the liberation of five of the seven detained indigenous tseltales from the village. The detainees have been imprisoned since last April and have suffered acts of torture to incite confessions of responsibility for holdups of tourist buses in the region of Agua Azul.

Gerónimo Moreno Deara acted as representative of those who had been recently liberated: he recounted the events of the detainment, the arrival, and the imprisonment within the state jail “El Amate”, which is based in Cintalapa. Gerónimo Moreno Deara recounted how they suffered torture for two days and how, on being detained, they were forced to take part in manual labor for the other prisoners so as not to be assaulted.

Two of the authorities of the village, who represented the committee of surveillance, as well as the principal traditional authorities, spoke about the origins of division within the village and the way in which they joined the ‘La Otra Campaña’. They stated that they are going to keep fighting for the liberation of the two other members of the village who remain imprisoned.

In turn, the CDHFBC, which acts in defense of the seven indigenous peoples who were detained last April, gave thanks to the national and international solidarity that has resulted in the recent liberation of the five individuals. Furthermore, the Center urged for those in solidarity to keep fighting for the freedom of Antonio and Jerónimo Gómez Saragos, who are currently imprisoned in “El Amate”. Moreover, representatives of CDHFBC stated that they were eagerly awaiting the resolution of the appeal against the order for the commitment of the defendant, which will be announced within the next few days.

For more information:

More information from SIPAZ:

Oaxaca: The Gathering of Our Voices of Struggle and Resistance

November 24, 2008

On Novermber 15 and 16, 2008, SIPAZ attended a gathering titled “Our Voices of Struggle and Resistance” at the Ecological Center in Juchitán de Zaragoza located in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec, Oaxaca. The 200 participants included various organizations such as the the Tepeyac Human Rights Center of the Isthmus of Tehuantpec, the June 14 Educator and Popular Collective, the Assembly for the Defense of Land and Territory, the Solidarity Group of La Venta, the Mexican Alliance for the Self-determination of the People, the Mexican Movement of those Affected by Dams and in Defense of the Rivers (MAPDER), the Mexican Anti-mining Network (REMA), the Union of Indigenous Communities in the Northern Zone of the Isthmus (UCIZONI) and Oaxacan Voices Constructing Autonomy and Liberty (VOCAL), as well as members of various communities in the region.

The themes that were discussed in the meeting included: Struggle and Resistance in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec; The Mesoamerican Project and its components (including the Wind Energy Project and super-highway infrastructure); Agrarian Deregulation such as the Program of Certification of Ejidal Rights (PROCEDE) and the constitutional rights being violated; the Economy of Deprivation and Mega-projects; the Ecological Debt. On the second day of the meeting the participants visited the La Venta II and La Venta IV wind farms.

The meeting ended with a final declaration in which they stated “We pronounce a clear NO to the highway, dam, mine, and transnational wind energy projects, because they do not contribute to the development of our communities, instead they displace us and deprive us of our land … they only bring economic benefit for businesses and the government”.

Below is audio (in Spanish) of Teodosio Ángel Molina of UCIZONI discussing the history of resistance in the area and his analysis to date.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Declaración final del Encuentro de Nuestras Voces de Lucha y Resistencia (16/11/08)

Página web de la UCIZONI

Chiapas: Marcelino Díaz González of “La Voz del Amate” released

October 17, 2008

The Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas Human Rights Center (Frayba, Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de Las Casas) reported the release on 15 October, 2008, of Marcelino Díaz González, member of “La Voz del Amate”, an inmate organization and adherent to the Other Campaign based out of the State Center for the Social Reinsertion of Sentenced Prisoners (CERSS, Centro Estatal de Reinserción Social de Sentenciados) No. 14 “El Amate” in Cintalapa, Chiapas.

Marcelino Díaz González, born 2 June, 1980, from San Pedro Nixtal Uk’um, in the municipality of El Bosque, was a member of the campesina organization USISON and later became an adherent to the Other Campaign. He was detained 3 October, 2001 by the State Judicial Police (Policía Judicial del Estado) without an arrest warrant. According to Díaz’s testimony he suffered threats, beatings, and maltreatment such as the placement of a plastic bag over his head as well as being shut in a freezer for 12 hours. He was held under an administrative arrest (arraigo) for 30 days in an unofficial arraigo house, the Hotel Safari in Tuxtla Gutiérrez (no longer used to house individuals under arraigo).

The following link contains excerpts from an interview with members of “La Voz del Amate” (Spanish)

Audios de la conferencia de prensa por la liberación de un integrante de La Voz del Amate (Frayba, 15/10/2008)

Oaxaca: National Forum “Building Paths and Developing Plans for Political Transformation”

September 25, 2008

On September 19th and 20th, the National Forum “Construyendo Caminos y Articulando Proyectos para la Transformación Política” (“Building Paths and Developing Plans for Political Transformation”) occurred in Oaxaca. According to the organizers, the meeting was a gathering of 240 people; this included men, women, representatives and members of seventy-three social and civil organizations, including social movements from Chiapas, Morelos, Oaxaca, Guerrero, and the state of Mexico, as well as representatives from Australia and the United States.

The final political declaration emphasized that “this event is occurring within the context of a serious institutional crisis and of a fragile democracy, in which we as a country are immersed; it is occurring within the many experiences of struggle and resistance from many diverse social movements in Mexico and through the necessity of re-articulating the social and political processes of the people of Oaxaca in the face of the authoritarianism of the government”.

The proposed objectives of this event were: to generate a space of discussion for the diverse range of social movements in the country; to identify common elements between the national and local settings, as well as to reach a consensus on the priority courses of action within the social agenda.

For More Information (In Spanish):

Political Declaration of the National Forum “Building Roads and Developing Plans for Political Transformation”

Opening Speech by Dolores Gonzáles (SERAPAZ: Services and Consulting for Peace)

Oaxaca: “Caravan in Solidarity with the Indigenous Community of Santiago Lachivía”; SIPAZ interview

August 20, 2008

After the deaths of two indigenous campesinos August 5 in Santiago Lachivía, a community located in the San Carlos Yautepec district, the Union of Indigenous Peoples and Communities of Yautepec (UPCIYO, Unión de Pueblos y Comunidades Indígenas de Yautepec) assembled the “Caravan in Solidarity with the Indigenous Community of Santiago Lachivía” on August 18, 2008.

SIPAZ conducted an interview with Evaristo Belleza Avila, the Communal Lands Commissioner of Santiago Lachivía in Oaxaca, in which he describes the events of August 5. He describes the community’s shock and confusion at the violence and expresses the need for an explanation from the governor and State Attorney General. He stated, “Right now we are hoping that there will be justice and that our government takes into consideration our request and our complaints.” A second interview was conducted with Leobardo Vasquez Hernandez, the ex-Communal Lands Commissioner of Santiago Lachivía, who gives a broad explanation of the historical context of the community.

To hear the SIPAZ interviews with Evaristo Belleza Avila and Leobardo Vasquez Hernandez (in Spanish) click on the link below:

Oaxaca: “Caravana en Solidaridad con la Communidad Indígena de Santiago Lachivía”; Entrevista de SIPAZ (SIPAZ, 14/08/08)

More information:

Oaxaca: Military Operation in Santiago Lachivía leaves two dead and one wounded; Urgent Action (SIPAZ, 19/08/08)

Oaxaca: Shots fired at the residence of a Zaachila Radio announcer; SIPAZ interview

August 19, 2008

On Sunday, July 27, at approximately 2 in the morning, shots were fired by unknown gunmen at the home of Melesio Melchor Ángeles, an announcer at Zaachila Radio, located in Zaachila, Oaxaca. Jorge Aragón, another member of Zaachila Radio, was also assaulted. It is worth noting that a planned visit to the area by governor Ulises Ruiz was blocked by the community last June 20. Radio Zaachila played a key role in the controversy. tuvo una participación importante en estos hechos. Likewise, the municipal president, Noe Pérez, has continuously demonstrated against the radio station, harrassing its members. [Source: Sididh- Centro Prodh].

To hear the SIPAZ interview with Adán López Santiago from Zaachila Radio (in Spanish) on the station and the harrassment they have experienced, click on the link below:

Oaxaca: Baleada la casa de un locutor de Zaachila Radio. Entrevista de SIPAZ (SIPAZ, 30/07/08)

Guerrero: Federal Agency of Investigations attempts to dismantle Radio Ñomndaa. Interviews by SIPAZ.

July 11, 2008

Thursday, July 10, agents from the Federal Agency of Investigations (AFI, Agencia Federal de Investigaciones) entered the offices of Radio Ñomndaa in an attempt to shut down the local radio station. Radio Ñomndaa “La Voz del Agua” is an independent station that broadcasts, without official permission, from Xochistlahuaca in the Montaña region of north-eastern Guerrero and hosts local and cultural programs in both the native language of Ñomndaa and Spanish. The station has been operating since 2002 and has previously received threats of a shut down by the AFI.

At midday on July 10, the AFI along with agents from the Secretary of Communication and Transport (SCT, Secretaria de Comunicaciones y Transportes) and the ministerial police arrived at Radio Ñomndaa with an order to shut down the station and seize their broadcast equipment. Members of the station along with individuals from the community protested the action and put enough pressure on the agents that within a few hours they had left the community without seizing any of the equipment. However they were able to disconnect much of the equipment leaving the radio unable to broadcast.

In a communiqué made public soon after the operation, Radio Ñomndaa expressed its right to broadcast and made a call for support from both the local and national civil society. They also began broadcasting via their web page soon afterwards.

SIPAZ conducted an interview with David Valtierra Arango from Radio Ñomndaa on the afternoon of July 10. To hear the interview in Spanish click the icon below.

More information in Spanish:

Impiden indígenas desmantelamiento de Radio Ñomndaa por la AFI y SCT (La Jornada, 11/07/08)

La AFI intentó desmantelar Radio Ñomndaa (Radio Ñomndaa, 10/07/08)

Intenta AFI desmantelar a la radio comunitaria Ñomndaa (Tlachinollan, 10/07/08)

Chiapas: New communiqué from the Voz de Los Llanos

June 28, 2008



June 26, SIPAZ members visited six detainees at the Center for the Social Reinsertion of Sentenced Prisoners (CERSS, formerly know as CERESO) in San Cristóbal de Las Casas, all of whom are members of the organization “The Voice of the Llanos” (La Voz de Los Llanos), adherents of the Other Campaign.

The detainees, who refer to themselves as political prisoners, carried out a hunger strike/fast between March 4 and April 5 of 2008 and again on May 24 declaring their innocence and demanding their immediate release. On April 17, as a consequence of the strike, they were made victims of violence perpetrated by other detainees who were not prevented from doing so by the authorities.

They stated that, “We know that our cases, in which we are considered guilty, are under revision. We want them to take notice of our struggle and protest. We want our release as soon as posible. Our cases are based on false accusations and crimes attributed under torture. The government has raised an iron fist against us. We are asking for freedom without violence, through a peaceful struggle, in the Voz de Los Llanos and the Voz del Amate. We want a solution to this problem we are faced with, we want freedom.”

On June 27, the spokesperson for the Voz de Los Llanos,Tiburcio Gómez Pérez, contacted SIPAZ by phone in order to make public their communiqué. You can hear the communiqué in Spanish below.

More information in Spanish:

Chiapas: SIPAZ interviews Alberto Patishtan Gómez, hunger-striking detainee in “El Amate”

April 3, 2008

[Interview, in Spanish, with Alberto Patishtan Gómez.]

Alberto Patishtan Gómez was arrested in the year 2000, charged with planning and executing an armed ambush in which seven police officers were killed in the municipality of El Bosque, Chiapas. Despite his claims of innocence, and the numerous irregularities presented in his case, Mr Patishtan Gómez was sentenced to a term of 60 years in the high security prison “El Amate”, in the town of Cintalapa, Chiapas.

SIPAZ recently conducted a telephone interview with Alberto Patishtan Gómez, who since February 26 has maintained a hunger strike together with other prisoners in El Amate. He commented that in his eight years of detention, this was the third hunger strike to demand his freedom: “this is the third strike, and it’s the definitive one”. After 36 days of hunger strike he was already suffering from symptoms such as dizziness, headaches and “seeing stars” when he shut his eyes.

The detainee, a member of the group “The Voice of El Amate,” informed SIPAZ that he was ready to give up his life for freedom, and that he preferred “to die on [his] feet, and not the way the government would like; [he refuses] to kneel before the government.” He stated that the hunger strike came from his “love for freedom, for social struggle, for the poor, ” and went on to say that “in this state we can’t speak of justice when arrest warrants are issued or changed based on confessions extracted under torture”.

In the list of detainees who were released on Monday March 31, Alberto Patishtan Gómez’s name did not appear. He was informed that as his charges were laid at a federal level, the Chiapas government had no say in the matter. However, Mr Patishtan Gómez recognized that those who were released owed their freedom to the political pressure from social organizations, and urged people to continue contacting Mexican authorities and those in their own country, demanding the release of those who remain detained.


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